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Keppinger would make sense for a White Sox team always criticized for not playing enough small ball.
As much as White Sox fans live by the long ball, they realize they must get hitters who make contact and get on base more often.
It was nice to see Adam Dunn blast 41 homers in a White Sox uniform in 2012 after a dreadful 2011 campaign, and it was also encouraging to see midseason acquisition Kevin Youkilis spark the offense (15 HR, 46 RBI in 80 games) when he arrived in Chicago.
However, both faded in September, and this team needs more players who hit for average and reach base more frequently. In 2012, the Sox were 14th in the MLB with a .259 team batting average and 15th in on-base percentage at .318. These stats aren't horrendous, but the White Sox clearly need to improve if they want to be a playoff team next season.
The White Sox declined the $13 million option on Kevin Youkilis, making it very possible he does not return to the team in 2013.
If Youk does not come back to Chicago, they should turn to the free agent market. Brent Morel is in the organization, but he has struggled mightily in the big leagues with a .230 average in 182 career games.
A good option would be free agent Jeff Keppinger. A career journeyman, he has played for six teams in his eight-year big league career and is a career .288 hitter, sporting a career .337 OBP. In 115 games in 2012 with Tampa Bay, Keppinger hit .325 and played every infield position but shortstop.
Keppinger can fill that void at third base and can also help fill any other infield position if called upon. The White Sox need to sprinkle in more players like Keppinger to mix with their big boppers.
Placido Polanco would also make sense for the White Sox. The 37-year-old is a career .299 hitter in 15 big league seasons. While he struggled to stay healthy in 2012, playing in only 90 games, the two-time All Star and three-time Gold Glove winner has a career .344 OBP and knows what it takes to be successful.
It seems like the White Sox always need contact hitters and can never produce them from their farm system. They call up low-average, high power, low-OBP players and expect them to be something they are not. While the Sox need to make these moves to better themselves in that department, there needs to be an organizational shift in how they scout and develop talent.
The team must study other organizations that are successful and tailor their efforts towards developing players that fit the mold as all-around baseball players. It will take time and effort, but it could pay huge dividends for a team without a true identity.